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Leaping and Learning: Linking Smallholders to Markets
29 May 2013


Over the last fifty years food production per person in Africa has grown disappointingly slowly at little more than 10%. The population of Africa is growing rapidly at an average annual rate of 2.5% and is expected to almost double by 2050 to close to two billion people. Chronic hunger on the continent is high; nearly 23% of the population are classed as hungry, many of whom are farmers owning less than two hectares of land. Smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa number around 33 million, represent 80% of all farms in the region, and contribute up to 90% of food production in some sub-Saharan African countries. Developing smallholder agriculture can be effective in reducing poverty and hunger in low income countries but only through sustainable access to markets can poor farmers increase the income from their labour and lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

Most poor farmers are not linked to markets for a variety of reasons: remoteness, low production, low farm-gate prices, and lack of information, to name a few. Addressing and overcoming these market failures in order to increase smallholder farmersí access to markets was the subject of this research project. In short, the project aimed to answer the question: how can smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa use a combination of agricultural growth and links to markets to raise their incomes and reduce poverty and hunger? What follows is a summary of the considerations, conclusions and recommendations that resulted from the synthesis and exploration of existing material, case studies and workshops.

The report is downloadable here


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